A federal judge has temporarily blocked Thursday's opening of the first grizzly bear hunt in the Rocky Mountains in more than 40 years as he considered whether the government was misguiding federal animal protection

US District Judge Dana Christensen's decision came just two days before Idaho and Wyoming agreed to open the first grizzly bear hunting season in the lower 48 states since 1974.

The order will remain in effect for 14 days.

"The threat of death To single bears, which are raised by the scheduled hunts, is sufficient" to justify a delay in the hunting times of the state, wrote Christensen in the order.

The move marked a victory for animal rights activists and indigenous tribes who sued US fishes and wildlife The decision by Service in 2017 to lift the protection of 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

"We are thrilled," said Mike Garrity, executive director of plaintiff Alliance for the Wild Rockies. "Now the judge has time to rule without grizzly bears being killed on Saturday morning."

Hunters say they should be allowed to kill a small number of grizzlies because the population has grown big enough to make President Donald Trump's administration argue the special protective measures for animals last year

Environmentalists argue that the hunt is unnecessary and inhuman. They want the bears to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, as a judge did in 2007.

"Nobody kills a grizzly bear to eat it," said Melissa Thomasma, managing director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates The Hunt. "It's about the ego."

An appeal to the 9th US Court of Appeals is likely to be on the loser side.

The hunters are ready: Out of thousands of applicants, 12 hunters in Wyoming and one in Idaho, licenses were granted for the opening day on Saturday, it was Wyoming's first hunt since 1974 and Idaho's first since 1946.

"This is a High-stakes appointment, "said Tim Preso, a lawyer for Earthjustice, representing several interest groups, and the Northern Cheyenne tribe. "We are down on the wire."

The restrictions were put into place in the Lower 48 States in 1975 to protect the last of the tens of thousands of bears that passed through the area in between The Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains: Hunters killed most of them in the 19th and early 20th centuries Century and left about 1,700 in all lower 48 states, mainly in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Alaska's population of 30,000 grizzlys is considered as a separate group.

In Yellowstone National Park, the Grizzly population declined to only 136 before the 1975 restrictions were imposed to protect the bears and their habitat as the population recovered.

The number of bears is important because legal protection can only be waived if the bear population is "self-sustaining," meaning that enough baby bears are born each year to compensate for the deaths. Bears die both through natural causes and through human intervention, especially when hunters kill them to protect themselves, or when state wildlife officials euthanize bears that have become accustomed to humans and their garbage.

Last year, wildlife representatives in Wyoming killed at least 14 grizzly bears that attacked livestock or threatened humans. Hunters killed nine more bears threatening them, and at least one bear was killed by a car. Many of Wyoming's grizzly bears live around the Grand Teton National Park just outside Jackson, and photographing them from the street is popular with tourists.

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Hunters are forbidden to pursue the Bears in Teton or adjacent Yellowstone National Park, but these Bears are fair game if they abandon the protection of the park's borders. Overall, the area where the bears live spans approximately 28,000 square miles, about the size of South Carolina. A full-grown male grizzly can roam over an area the size of New York City.

The grizzly hunt will begin in two phases, one on September 1st and the other on September 15th, and state animal rights activists say they can (19659006) The decision of the US Fish and Wildlife Service last year Transfer the management of the Bears to the three states that have agreed on a plan that sets hunting quotas based on the number of deaths per year to ensure the population has over 600 animals.

Idaho's hunting quota is a bear. Wyoming Hunt is in two stages: September 1 opens the season in a remote area with a rate of 12 bears, and September 15, the season begins in Prime Grizzly's habitat near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. One woman or 10 men can be killed in these areas. Montana officials decided not to hunt this year.

Up to 22 bears can be killed in both seasons, although this number is unlikely because the death of a woman would stop the hunt near the National Parks from 15 September. Bear hunting is not allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton.

While the Grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is much smaller than it used to be, bears – which can grow to 700 pounds in adult males – represent an indisputable threat to those who choose to live near them To threaten people who use public land, and kill young moose or calves just for sport.

"It is not bloodthirsty, the fact is that we have to do something for the benefit of the bear," said hunting adviser Sy Gilliland, spokesman for the Wyoming hunting industry. "We can not turn back the clock and remove the people from Wyoming Bear is overcrowded, he just has to cut back his number in favor of the species. "

Post: The Associated Press

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